The season of colder temperatures, wearing jackets, mittens and scarves and dreading going outside is upon us. It can be hard to enjoy going for a run during this time of year, especially when it gets dark so early but if you are properly prepared it really isn’t so bad-it actually is better to be running in cooler temperatures.
- Wear layers-it is better to start off being warm and take off layers as you get moving around. Wear attire that is easy to take off (zippers are best with fleece or windbreaker, lightweight jackets that can we tied around your waist).
- Hydration-this is still just as important as it is during the humid months. Your body works a lot harder to stay warm in the cold, and is using more energy so you need to be drinking even more water. And being properly is ideal in general for optimal workouts and performance. Also, make sure you are refueling properly after a run with a substantial amount of protein and electrolytes.
- Make sure you are wearing the right shoes and know the conditions of the roads. Even though Charlotte doesn’t get a ton of snow, there is times if you’re an early morning runner that black ice can be on the sidewalks/roads so always be prepared, wear shoes with good tractions, carry a flashlight with you and try to stay off areas that aren’t usually paved or driven on frequently. Since it is darker so much earlier you always want to make sure you have a reflective jacket, clothing, and headlamp during your runs for safety reasons.
- Make sure you warm up before your run. Since it is cooler your body is probably already chilly and once you step outside chances are you immediately will be even cooler. To help prevent a pulled muscle or worse be sure to stretch before you hit the road. I like to do active stretches that get the body loosened up. Jogging in place, jumping jackets, high knees and butt kicks.
- Change out of your clothes immediately when you return from your run. This will help avoid the chances of bringing on a chill, or cold from letting your sweat dry and chill you. It’s important to put on dry clothes, cover your head, or wet hair and heat up. A hearty soup is a perfect idea, or a warm drink will also help.
- Give yourself an incentive to look forward to. It can be tough to get yourself up and out the door when it is cold, but if you have something to look forward to after that will help keep the motivation to achieve the goal you set for yourself and not cut it short.
Running in the winter months isn’t always ideal, and can be tricky but by having a plan, knowing the conditions and preparing yourself you can and will make it through the run. The only run ever regretted is the run not taken.
Happy Winter Running, Friends!